Corcovado (Antônio Carlos Jobim) — English lyric: “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars,” by Gene Lees
The mountain known as Corcovado (“The Hunchback”) is a real place in Rio de Janeiro. The imposing statue of Cristo Redentor (“Christ the Redeemer”) sits majestically atop the mountain, giving its 2,329-foot height an additional 125 feet. Weighing in at 635 long tons, the soapstone-and-concrete statue’s welcoming arms stretch almost 97 feet across. It is the third largest statue of Christ in the world. Construction of the statue took 9 years to complete. It is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the world and can be seen in many Hollywood movies and music videos. It can also be seen in person, as it is open to tourists. But be prepared for lines; there is always a long wait to a steep climb before you are up close and personal to the Redeemer.
In the lyric, Corcovado is a beautiful presence seen through a window as our hero meditates upon a change in his life and expresses gratitude toward a lover who has eased his former bitterness, and brought him contentment. His sense of appreciation extends beyond the window, to the mountain, as well. Alternately, the lyric might be interpreted as above all an homage to Corcovado and Rio, where the protagonist has been blessed with the fortune of a loving and healing personal relationship that coalesces with a rich alliance with the community. — doc, 1 May 2012
João Gilberto — Gilberto recorded the song first. His 1960 recording was released as track #3, side two, of his album O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor that year. It was Gilberto’s second album to include recordings in the bossa nova style.
Cannonball Adderley and The Bossa Rio Sextet, recorded 10 December 1962 in NYC; released on Cannonball’s Bossa Nova
musicians (this track):
Cannonball Adderley – alto saxophone
Sérgio Mendes – piano
Durval Ferreira – guitar
Octavio Bailly, Jr. – bass
Dom Um Romão – drums
Stan Getz and João Gilberto, with vocals by Astrud Gilberto and João Gilberto — recorded 18 or 19 March 1963 and released on the album Getz/Gilberto in March 1964
Stan Getz (ts), Antonio Carlos Jobim (p), João Gilberto (g, vo), Tommy Williams (b), Milton Banana (d), Astrud Gilberto (vo)
Caterina Valente — audio: from her 1964 album Valente on T.V. Source of the short film: unknown; presumably made for a television program or special.
The video provider attaches the following description:
The San Salvatore mountain in Lugano becomes the “Pan de Azùcar” the Corcovado…Lugano the little Rio de Janeiro!
Very well. But the “Pan de Azùcar” (in Portuguese, Pão de Açúcar) and Corcovado are two very different mountains in Rio.
Diahann Carroll sings Quiet Nights on the Judy Garland Show, Episode 21, taped 31 January 1964, original airdate: 16 February 1964. JG is heard introducing her.
Charlie Byrd recorded the song for his 1965 LP Brazilian Byrd, but it’s much longer than the groove in the following video, which may be a portion of the track. The album features arrangements by Tommy Newsom for strings, brass, and woodwinds.
Tom Jobim & Frank Sinatra on the 1967 Sinatra special A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim; original airdate 13 November 1967
The pair perform eight bars of the chorus before breaking off to allow Sinatra to introduce the previously obscured composer. Interestingly, the medley resumes not with Jobim songs but with the standards “Change Partners” (Berlin), and “I Concentrate on You” (Porter) before finishing with “Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema).” All four songs had been featured on their collaborative album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, recorded on 30 January and 1 February 1967 and released in March 1967.
After nine years of construction, the statue Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor), built on the top of Corcovado mountain in Rio, was unveiled in an inaugural ceremony taking place on 12 October 1931.
Local engineer Heitor da Silva Costa designed the statue; it was sculpted by French sculptor Paul Landowski. A group of engineers and technicians studied Landowski’s submissions and the decision was made to build the structure out of reinforced concrete (designed by Albert Caquot) instead of steel, more suitable for the cross-shaped statue. The outer layers are soapstone, chosen for its enduring qualities and ease of use.
(below) Amid a medley, Mina sings the chorus of Corcovado as she strolls between the orchestra and among dancers on an episode of the musical variety show Canzonissima 1968. The provider dates it 12 October 1968, which would be the third episode. This happened to also be the date of the 37th anniversary of the unveiling of the statue Cristo Redentor, but the date has greater historical significance.
At about 2 AM on 12 October 1492, Rodrigo de Triana, a sailor on Christopher Columbus’s ship La Pinto, sighted land in the area of the present-day Bahamas. An expedition landed later that day. Columbus believed it was an Asian island and named it San Salvador. Not finding the riches he anticipated, Columbus soon resumed exploring the area (still searching for China) eventually landing on the northeast coast of Cuba on 28 October, and on Hispaniola, on 5 December that year. The San Salvador Island landing is believed to have been the first in the Americas by Europeans since the Vikings nearly 500 years earlier.
From her 1971 album Dez Anos Depois, Philips 2.388.004/5
(below) date unknown
Tom Jobim & Elis Regina —Corcovado was one of the songs recorded by the pair over a 16-day period of sessions at MGM Studios in Los Angeles, California between 22 February and 9 March 1974. The collaboration resulted in an album titled Elis & Tom.
From a review of the album by Thom Jurek, as found at allmusic.com:
This beautiful — and now legendary — recording date between iconic Brazilian vocalist Elis Regina and composer, conductor, and arranger Tom Jobim is widely regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian pop recordings. It is nearly ubiquitous among Brazilians as a household item. Regina’s voice is among the most loved in the history of Brazilian music. Her range and acuity, her unique phrasing, and her rainbow of emotional colors are literally unmatched, and no matter the tune or arrangement, she employs most of them on these 14 cuts. Another compelling aspect of this recording is the young band Jobim employs here and allows pretty free rein throughout. He plays piano on eight of these tracks, and guitar on two others, but the fluid, heightened instincts of these players — guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, Luizão Maia on bass, drummer Paulinho Braga, and pianist César Mariano — reveal them to be at the top of their game for this rather informal date that does include a few numbers with a full orchestra. That said, most of these songs were completed as first takes with very little overdubbing. [read more]
(below) Thus far, I’ve been unable to discover much about this live occasion. The pair also performed Águas de Março at the same event. The performance is usually dated 1974 by video providers, and at least one of them indicates that it was shot in LA during the period of the recording of the album Elis & Tom.
Joe Pass and Paulinho Da Costa –recorded in May 1978 — Originally released on Pablo (2310-824)
The video provider attaches the following description of the album:
After countless solo guitar albums for Pablo, Joe Pass performed this welcome change of pace, a set of Brazilian tunes. Joined by fellow guitarist Oscar Castro Neves, bassist Octavio Bailly, drummer Claudio Slon, percussionist Paulinho da Costa and keyboardist Don Grusin, Pass plays warm solos on a variety of Brazilian tunes. Highlights include three songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim (including “Corcovado” and “Wave”), Deodato’s “Tears,” and Luiz Bonfa’s “The Gentle Rain.” A melodic and infectious date that has been reissued on CD.
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